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Ombudsman matters and good scientific practice

"The conduct of science rests on basic principles valid in all countries and in all scientific disciplines. The first among these is honesty towards oneself and towards others. Honesty is both an ethical principle and the basis for the rules, the details of which differ by discipline, of professional conduct in science, i.e. of good scientific practice" (Memorandum of the German Research Foundation, DFG, 2013:13)

The preservation and safeguarding of the highest of scientific quality standards in research are deemed by the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen to be of paramount importance, whilst fostering an atmosphere of openness, creativity and dedication to achievement. In the realisation of these objectives, compliance with the principles of good scientific practice plays a pivotal role.

In educating and training junior scientists and scholars, we are committed to ensuring the prevention of scientific misconduct, to offering advice and help in investigating cases of suspected violation of rules. Above and beyond this, we endeavour to arbitrate cases of unclear authorship or other disputes arising in connection with good scientific practice.

For adjudicating ombudsman matters the University has put in place "Regulations for Ensuring Good Scientific Practice". We hereby express our concurrence with the mutual initiative of the German Research Foundation and the German Rectors' Conference to implement the binding recommendations of the German Research Foundation's commission on "Professional Self-regulation in Science". All members of the University working in the science community shall be bound thereby.

The central partners to contact on these matters are Dr. Veronika Fuest, Director of the Office of the Ombudsman and Good Scientific Practice, and three professors belonging to various faculties who have been appointed by the senate as ombudspersons.

Presumed victims or whistle blowers can report suspected cases of scientific misconduct to the Office of the Ombudsman and Good Scientific Practice, where more detailed information about internal University Ombudsman procedures can be obtained. As required the ombudspersons have consultative roles and explore the circumstances of a case. In principle every case is treated confidentially.

In the event that a suspicion of scientific misconduct is justified, upon approval by the persons concerned the case can be included in formal ombudsman proceedings. Such hearings extend up to two levels: the ombudsman committee, constituted of three ombudspersons, and an investigative committee if needed.

The Medical Faculty has its own ombudsman committee that can be contacted in matters concerning the University Medical Center Göttingen.

Should, after further investigation into the facts in one of the ombudsman committees, the suspicion be confirmed, the case will be turned over to and examined by the investigative committee shared by the University and the University Medical Center. These proceedings are confidential as well. The University's management is involved until a final decision is taken by the commission (cf. Statute).

The University's ombudsman committee and the investigative committee are given administrative support by the Office of the Ombudsman and Good Scientific Practice.

If you are involved in a current conflict, you can confidentially address your inquiry to the Office of the Ombudsman and Good Scientific Practice. Here, you have the opportunity to receive personalized advice and coaching.